Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


28 July 1809

Re-Organization

Bibliography


The British Expeditionary Force to Walcheren: 1809

By Robert Burnham

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British sent numerous expeditionary forces throughout the world to assist in destabilizing the French Empire. Some were successful, such as the capture of Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa and Jakarta in Indonesia. Others were total disasters, resulting in either heavy casualties or the capture of the British force, such as the attack on Buenos Aires in 1806. Without a doubt, the worse expedition of the Napoleonic Wars was the British landing in the Low Countries in 1809. The British hope to achieve two goals: to assist the Austrians, who had gone to war against the French and to destroy the French fleet thought to be in Flushing.

The British force, of over 39,000 men began to land in Walcheren on 30 July. [This force was larger than the British force in Portugal under Wellington!] The expedition's goals howereve, were poorly conceived and were destined to failure. By the time the force had landed, the Austrians had been defeated and were negotiating a peace treaty with Napoleon. Although the British had captured Flushing, the French had moved their fleet to Antwerp, thus denying the British any chance of destroying it.

After four and a half months on Walcheren, the last British troops were withdrawn on 9 December. The British force had 4,066 deaths during the expedition, but only 106 officers and men were killed in combat. The rest died from Walcheren Fever. The return of the force to England did little to alleviate the problems. On 1 February 1810, a staggering 11,513 officers and men were still carried on the rolls as sick. Less than two years later, many of these troops were still so weakened by the disease, Wellington request that no unit that served in the Walcheren Campaign be sent to him!

Unlike the British forces that served in the Peninsula with Wellington, where there are numerous books listing the order-of-battle for any given period, there is little written about the British Expeditionary Force to Walcheren. This paper examines the organization of the land forces involved in the expedition.

British Expeditionary Force to Walcheren

28 July 1809

Commander: Lord Chatham (John Pitt)

Second-in-Command: Sir Eyre Coote

Chief-of-Staff: Sir Robert Brownrigg

Left Wing

1st Division: Lieutenant General Sir John Craddock

Major General Graham's Brigade:
3/1st , 2/35th, 2/81st

Major General Houston's Brigade

2/14th, 51st, 2/63rd

4th Division: Lieutenant General MacKenzie Fraser

Brigadier General Browne's Brigade
1/5th, 4 companies of the 2/23rd, 1/26th, 1/32nd

Major General Picton's Brigade

1/36th, 2 companies of the 2/8th, 77th, 1/82nd

Light Troops: 

Brigadier General Mahon: 
9th Light Dragoons

Brigadier General de Rottenburg

68th, 1/71st, 85th, Captains Cadoux's & Jenkins' Companies from the 2/95th

Right Wing

Light Division: Lieutenant General the Earl of Rosslyn

Major General William Stewart's Brigade
2/43rd, 2/52nd, 8 companies of the 2/95th

Major General von Linsingen's Brigade

3rd Dragoons, 12th Light Dragoons, 2nd KGL Hussars

Major General von Alten's Brigade

1st KGL Light Battalion, 2nd KGL Light Battalion

2nd Division: Lieutenant General Marquis of Huntly

Major General Dyott's Brigade
1/6h, 1/50th, 1/91st

Brigadier General Montresor's Brigade

1/9th, 1/38th, 1/42nd

One company of the 2/95th

3rd Division: Lieutenant General T. Grosvenor

Major General Leith's Brigade
2/11th, 2/59th, 1/79th

Brigadier General Acland's Brigade

2nd, 76th, 2/84th

Reserve: Lieutenant General John Hope

Brigadier General Disney's Brigade
1/1st Guards, 3rd/1st Guards, Flank Companies of the 2/Coldstream Guards and the 2/3rd Guards

Major General William Erskine's Brigade

20th, 1/92nd

Major General Earl of Dalhousie's Brigade

1/4th, 2/4th, 1/28th 

Captain Miller's Company of the 2/95th

Artillery

Commander: Brigadier General John Macleod.

Captain Alexander Macdonald's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery

Foot Artillery Companies:

J. d'Arcy's Brigade, 2nd Battalion

T. Paterson's Brigade, 2nd Battalion

A. Campbell's Brigade, 3rd Battalion

T. Rogers's Brigade, 3rd Battalion

J. Brome's Brigade, 3rd Battalion

P. Drummond's Brigade, 3rd Battalion

W. Cleeve's Brigade, 3rd Battalion

E. Wilmot's Brigade, 3rd Battalion [light 6 pounders]

P. Fyers's Brigade, 3rd Battalion

H. Marsh's Brigade, 3rd Battalion [light 6 pounders]

S. Adye's Brigade, 5th Battalion [heavy brigade]

R. Buckner's Brigade, 5th Battalion

N. Oliver's Brigade, 9th Battalion

H. Webber-Smith's Brigade, 9th Battalion

G. Massey's Brigade, 9th Battalion [light 6 pounders]

A. Munro's Brigade, 9th Battalion

The battering train consisted of 70 guns, 74 mortars, and Congreve Rockets.

Staff Corps

2 Companies of Engineers

Waggon Train

3 Troops, 132 waggons, 238 carts.

Horses

Over 6,000 horses were embarked as part of the force.

Map of British Operations on Walcheren

The Re-Organization

On 31 July, the day after the troops began to land on Walcheren Island, Lord Chatham announced a new organization for the expeditionary force. This re-organization primarily only affected the troops of the Left Wing, with Lord Paget taking command of the "Centre" of the Left Wing. The Left Wing and the 3rd Division landed on Walcheren Island, while the Right Wing and the Reserve landed on South Beveland Island.

British Expeditionary Force to Walcheren

9 August 1809

On Walcheren Island:

Right Wing: Major General Graham

Colonel Day's Brigade
3/1st, 1/5th, 2/35th, 30 men of the Staff Corps

Light Infantry

2 companies of 68th, 31 men from the 95th

Artillery: Webber-Smith's Brigade of light 6 pounders.

Centre: Lieutenant General Lord Paget

Brigadier General Browne's Brigade
2/23rd, 1/26th, 1/32nd, 2/81st

Brigadier General Rottenburg's Light Infantry Brigade

8 companies of the 68th, 85th, Captains Cadoux's & Jenkins' Companies from the 2/95th

Artillery: Massey's Brigade of light 6 pounders

Left Wing: Lieutenant General Fraser

Major General Picton's Brigade
50 men from the 2/95th, 1/36th, 2/63rd, 1/71st, 77th, a Battalion of Detachments, and 20 men of the Staff Corps

Artillery: March's Brigade of light 6 pounders

Reserve:

Brigadier Houston's Brigade
2/14th, 51st, 1/82nd

3rd Division: Lieutenant General T. Grosvenor

Major General Leith's Brigade
2/11th, 2/59th, 1/79th

Brigadier General Acland's Brigade

2nd, 76th, 2/84th

Artillery: Adye's Heavy 9 pounders

On South Beveland Island

Light Division: Lieutenant General the Earl of Rosslyn

Major General William Stewart's Brigade
2/43rd, 2/52nd, 8 companies of the 2/95th

Major General von Linsingen's Brigade

3rd Dragoons, 12th Light Dragoons, 2nd KGL Hussars

Major General von Alten's Brigade

1st KGL Light Battalion, 2nd KGL Light Battalion

2nd Division: Lieutenant General Marquis of Huntly

Major General Dyott's Brigade
1/6h, 1/50th, 1/91st

Brigadier General Montresor's Brigade

1/9th, 1/38th, 1/42nd

One company of the 2/95th

Reserve Division: Lieutenant General John Hope

Brigadier General Disney's Brigade
1/1st Guards, 3rd/1st Guards, Flank Companies of the 2/Coldstream Guards & the 2/3rd Guards

Major General William Erskine's Brigade

20th, 1/92nd

Major General Earl of Dalhousie's Brigade

1/4th, 2/4th, 1/28th 

Captain Miller's Company of the 2/95th

Artillery: Wilmot's Brigade of light six pounders

Bibliography

Duncan, John. History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery Vol. II; London : John Murray; 1879.

Fortescue, John. History of the British Army Vol. VII; London : MacMillan; 1912. 

Jones, John T. Journal of Sieges Carried on by the Army under the Duke of Wellington, in Spain Vol. III; Cambridge : Ken Trotman; 1999.

Oman, Charles. Wellington's Army: 1809-1814 London : Greenhill Books; 1993.

Verner, Willoughby. History & Campaigns of the Rifle Brigade London : Buckland and Brown; 1995.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2000

 

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